Flu Season: Prepare Early and Decrease Risk of Infection

‘Tis the Season…For Influenza

What is the “Flu”?

The human influenza strains are single-stranded RNA viruses that cause millions of deaths worldwide each year. The influenza pandemic of 1918 had the highest death toll of any other disease outbreak in history. 

Despite modern and advanced medical care readily available to the masses, the influenza virus still presents a serious health risk. 

In the united states, the flu virus is associated with approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and roughly 36,000 deaths each year. A single sneeze projects approximately 45,000 droplets of moisture into the air that will then circulate into the surrounding air. The flu virus is contracted through close contact or inhalation of airborne viral pathogens.

First and foremost, the flu vaccine is recommended for flu prevention; it is between 50-60% effective, and is the first thing we recommend before traveling and the holiday season. Travelling, flying in airplanes, and even coming in contact with family, all exposes us to different strains of the flu. Seniors are most at risk for contracting the influenza virus, and it is recommended more highly for these individuals to receive the vaccine. Besides the flu shot, there are other additional ways to help boost the immune system and help the body to fight off this virus.

Flu Symptoms

  1. Headache
  2. Fever, chills, cold sweat
  3. Aching muscles and limbs
  4. Gastrointestinal discomfort (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)

Acute Treatment

  1. Antivirals
  2. Increased immune support
  3. Increased fluid intake
  4. Adequate sleep
  5. Maintain a proper dietary regimen

Protection Against the Flu: A Nutraceutical Approach

A plethora of natural substances exist that help the body build immune function and help fight viral infections like the flu. Studies have shown that supplementation with such nutrients reduces the chances of contracting the disease, as well as aid in recovery if the flu is contracted.

To Fight the Flu  Naturally, Utilize the Following:

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Colostrum

Colostrum is a substance found in milk, in abundant quantities in breastfeeding mothers. There are 100 times more immunoglogulins present in capsulized colostrum than in regular milk. Colostrum introduces immunoglobulins from the mother to infant, which spurs the development of the child’s immune responses. It contains a wide variety of nutrients, growth factors, lipidic and glucidic elements, oligosaccharides, antimicrobials, and cytokines and nucleosides, and roughly 95 other different compounds which stabalize immune function. Eight growth factors are some of those 95 different substances, and they promote normal cell growth, synthesis of DNA, utilization of fat reserves, and increased cognitive function.

Bovine colostrum possesses an identical structure to the colostrum produced by humans. Mnay health benefits are attributed to the consumption of bovine colostrum including: gut stability, nutrient absorption, immune balance, increases in energy, and reduced inflammation and reduced incidence of illness.

The gut is responsible for not only absorption of nutrients and detoxification of the body, but it also plays a role in modulating immune response. Those with immune disorders or low immunity, have shown decreased levels of the immunoglobulin protein called secretory IgA (SIgA) present in the gut. Low SIgA levels are also seen in individuals with GI problems; Colostrum is the substance most effective for increasing SIgA levels present in the GI tract. It balances the immune system by decreasing the inflammatory response due to cytokines and pathogens, while also helping to repair damaged tissue.

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Licorice Root Extract

Licorice root extract is powerful anti-viral agent and is a useful remedy to help fight infection as well as cold and flu symptoms.

Licorice has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years to support the body, including the gastrointestinal system.

It was often used as a demulcent, to soothe and coat the stomach and throat. Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) contains a glycoside (glycyrrhizin), flavonoids, asparagine, isoflavonoids, chalcones and coumarins. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is used for people who have or are susceptible to high blood pressure.

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Echinacea and Goldenseal

Echinacea and Goldenseal help support a healthy immune system and was antibacterial, anti parasitic, and antibiotic properties. Starting a regimen of echinacea and goldenseal if you feel the beginnings of an illness is a good way to help prevent the situation from getting worse.

The combination of Echinacea and Goldenseal is often used during cold and flu season to boost the immune system. Echinacea has been used for over 4000 years in traditional herbal medicine, using both the roots and flowers of the plant. Goldenseal is a member of the buttercup family, and only the root portion of the plant is utilized for its therapeutic qualities.

Echinacea is believed to function as an anti-viral and often used for respiratory infections.

The active chemical in Goldenseal is called Berberine, which is often used to fight various infections. It also functions as an expectorant, which may alleviate symptoms of chronic cough.

How does Echinacea and Goldenseal Root support health?

  • Supports immune system function.
  • Promotes respiratory health.
  • Used most frequently to help ward off the flu and common cold

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Vitamin D3

What is vitamin D?

This fat-soluble vitamin is naturally found in very few food-based sources. However, vitamin D’s functions in the body are very wide-ranging. When skin is exposed to UV sunlight, the body produces a form of vitamin D nearly identical to vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol. Vitamin D3 may be more than three times as effective in raising D levels in the bloodstream and maintaining that concentration for a longer period of time than other forms of vitamin D supplements.

How does vitamin D support health?

  • Contributes to bone strength as proper levels create optimum conditions for bone formation
  • Supports proper functioning of the immune and nervous systems
  • Promotes the intestinal absorption of calcium
  • Supports fetal skeletal development and tooth enamel formation
  • Contributes to healthy levels of phosphorus in the body

(Note: Vitamin D2 is Vitamin D in its inactive state. Taking vitamin D2 supplements orally will not provide the desired affects. Vitamin D3 must be taken instead.)

Throughout the years, clinical studies have shown vitamin D to play many crucial biochemical roles throughout the body.

Vitamin D is not a real “vitamin”; it’ s actually a neuroregulatory steroidal hormone that influences nearly 3,000 different genes in your body.

Vitamin D3 also affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.

Optimizing your vitamin D levels should be at the top of the list for virtually everyone, regardless of your age, sex, color, or health status, as vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an astonishingly diverse array of common chronic diseases. Although sun exposure generates healthy doses of vitamin D, it can also cause skin cancer.

Dermatologists and the AAP recommend wearing sunblock, but this actually blocks our skin’s ability to make vitamin D3. Furthermore, children with more highly pigmented skin require much more sun exposure than fair-skinned children to obtain healthy levels of vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 has shown preventative benefits for many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Theories linking vitamin D3 deficiency to cancer have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies.

Vitamin D3 is lipid-soluble and best absorbed when taken at the same time as an oil.This can be an Omega-3 Fish Oil, any other essential fatty acid supplement, or even olive oil dressing on a salad.

Recommended Regimen:

Colostrum: 2 capsules in the morning, and 2 capsules in the evening.

Licorice Root Extract: 1 Capsule twice times daily

Echinacea and Goldenseal: 1 capsule twice daily

Vitamin D3: 5000 IU daily

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David S Klein, MD

David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM was born in Washington, DC, and was raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland with degrees in Chemistry and Psychology. Medical School was completed at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, followed by Internship in General Surgery at the University of North Carolina and Residency in Anesthesiology at the Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Dr Klein has been practicing medicine since 1983, concentrating in Pain Medicine, Minimally Invasive Medicine and Surgery, and Neuroendocrinology. Earning Board Certification in Anesthesiology, Dr. Klein was elected Fellow in the American College of Anesthesiology, and he was elected Fellow in the American College of Pain Medicine. He is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, School of Medicine. He has focused his private practice on treating patients with hormone imbalance issues, nutritional deficiency related medical problems as well as pain related issues and impairment. With a highly-complex, CLIA licensed laboratory in-house, he has been able to provide rapid-turn around analysis efficiently and cost-effectively. Lecturing extensively nationally as well as internationally, Dr. Klein has authored many articles on topics relating to pain, injury and nutritionally modulated illness. His radio show, “Pain Free Living,” received top ratings during the 6 years it was on the air. Currently practicing in Longwood, Florida, Dr. Klein practices entirely in the office setting.

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